2009 RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors

Also known as one of THE BEST book festivals you can go to, and lucky, us, it’s right here in RI!


Every year, the Lincoln School in Providence opens up and we get treated to the best writers and illustrators currently working. That is no exaggeration! To wit:

Here’s Brian Selznick explaining some of the windy journey that led him to create The Invention of Hugo Cabret. What’s fun about this festival is that the speakers have to be ready to talk to a mixed audience of kids and adults. I find that a lot more engaging, and it seems like they feel that way too! Brian is at the top of his game- a wonderful author/illustrator, and a contemporary of ours from RISD (he graduated in ’88, Eric and I in ’89). Go Brian!


Here’s the amazing Lois Lowry, signing our festival poster. Our kids have read a bunch of her books, so it was a treat to see her in person.

lois lowrey_sign

Jerry Pinkney. What can you say about him? I’d say he’s in the Liz Top Ten of Living Illustrators. Oh, yeah- and add to that he’s a totally genuine guy who really cares about people. You can see this in person for sure, but I think it comes out in his art, too.

That’s his childhood home in the slide.

Look- there’s betty Brown getting her book signed!


Here’s Mary Ann Hoberman:


With a few fans!

Chris Van Allsburg: My old teacher from RISD!

A very popular presenter at the festival each year!

Christopher Paul Curtis gave a great talk, also geared for the mixed kid/adult audience, that had the place in stitches. Here he is coercing a boy to declare his love of reading, after which he gave him a cash “bookmark.” Ha! Hearing him describe his ascent from Detroit auto worker to Newbery and Coretta Scott King Award winner was purely inspirational.


Paul O. Zelinsky was there too…add another name to the Top Illustrator List! He’s prolific, and also seems to be able to bend his style to match a story, sometimes in very surprising ways. What an array of work…very inspiring. And very dapper to boot!


AS IF that weren’t enough, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was there, too!


I simply had to add to my signed book collection. Wouldn’t you? My only regrets are that we couldn’t see everyone there and hear all the talks. It’s pretty much impossible to do…but for however long you are there, it’s a top-notch treat and a wonderful experience. If you’re anywhere near RI next year, be sure you come to the Festival!


6 comments on “2009 RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors

  • on Monday, October 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm, kathy weller said:

    Whoa, I have never even heard of this. And it’s annual? I’m going to put it on my calendar and try to hit it next year. Thanks for posting about it! What an awesome day. You must have been on cloud 9!!

  • on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 9:36 am, Jannie said:

    wow! I need an event like this where I am. I’m with Kathy and might just have to mark this on my calendar and go next year. Quite a line up of speakers.

  • on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 10:01 am, Phyllis Harris said:

    So envious!!!!!! Of the whole event!

    Chris Van Allsburg was your teacher?! He’s one of Brad’s and my favorites!!!

  • on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm, Christina Rodriguez said:

    Oh, that looked like a fabulous event! Another reason why I’m dying to move back to RI.

  • on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm, Meagan Lenihan said:

    Liz – thank you so much for this blog, I am glad that you had a great time! The Festival always takes place the weekend after Columbus Day – we hope to see you again next year! Thanks again!!

  • on Friday, February 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm, Tracy Cundiff said:

    Wow, how impressive to have such writers gathered in one spot! That had to be a wonderful event to attend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *